Tag Archives: DTM

Get Closer to the Action! Become a Motorsport Marshal Volunteer!

Russ found a new hobby in 2011: Motorsport volunteering.

Since then he has worked in 15 different countries and for all sorts of racing from Formula 1 to MotoGP.

Russ likes to encourage others to volunteer also.

Get in touch with Russ to find out how.

 

 

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Events Russ Marshaled

Circuits Russ Marshaled

Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM) at Circuit Park Zandvoort in the Netherlands

I’ve always wanted to volunteer a DTM race, so this July I took advantage of an opportunity to do just that in the Netherlands. Plenty of Dutch marshals told me it’d be boring, and that there are much better events to volunteer at Circuit Park Zandvoort but I didn’t listen, and I’m glad I didn’t because DTM at Zandvoort was fantastic!

The marshal club OCA was super welcoming. I relied on my Belgian/Flemish marshal friends to help me organize my application, and they did a great job. Every day during the event we went out to eat right on the beach in Zandvoort town, just a short walk from the track. It was amazing.

And of course the machinery was fascinating!

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Special thanks to OCA for letting me work the last corner of the circuit, which meant I could take a walk down to grid and take some pictures of the cars up close.

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I’d love to come back to Zandvoort again for another awesome marshaling opportunity.

Post Card from Circuit Park Zandvoort the Netherlands, my 15th Country to Volunteer

Greetings from the beautiful northern beaches of Holland.

Just hours left of my stay in Amsterdam before continuing onto Germany, and thanks to the nice Dutch people at the library I could share a few shots from the DTM weekend at Zandvoort.

What an amazing opportunity it was!

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Planning my Biggest Euro Trip Yet this Summer: July 2016, Stay Tuned…

I am never going to find a real job… just when I thought I would focus on settling down and searching some meaningful employment on the Gulf Coast of Florida I went ahead and booked my flights back to Europe.

While this is still the very early stages of my planning process I know exactly what I would like to do.

The goal is to marshal the following events:

f-netherlands DTM at Zandvoort, the Netherlands

f-germany WEC 6 hours of Nurburgring, Germany

f-belgium Spa 24h at Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium

 

The Netherlands/Holland would be my 15th country to volunteer in.

Besides the races I’m really looking forward to exploring Amsterdam which I’ve visited a few times but only for a few hours each time. And another trip to Adenau is in order to have a nice schnitzel at Giulia’s. Belgium is my favorite country in Europe at this time and another trip to Brussels is something I can’t wait to do.

While I failed in the past, I’m really hoping that some MX-5 get togethers in the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium will materialize this time around. There are a ton of Dutch MX-5 owners, juts as there are a ton of German Miata owners, and I’m sure we can scrape a few in Belgium too.

So for anyone reading this that are interested, please get in touch, we have a few months to organize a meet up!

Stay tuned for more…

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What Should My 15th Country To Marshal Be?

As I’m soaking in the sunshine in South Beach, Miami admiring all these beautiful people from all over the world, I can’t help but wonder what should the Fifteenth country for me to marshal be?

It’s quite the anniversary and an accomplishment in my book, but it’s also frustrating to figure out what to do. The best course of action, so to speak.

So what are my options?

I’ll start with what I’d like my options to be, and it’s something I’ve written about before. And they are the most unlikely places that I’d really like to marshal but that haven’t allowed me to marshal there yet. And they include Macau and Japan. Macau or Macao would be amazing to experience the Guia Circuit (which I’ve visited as a tourist before) during the Macau Grand Prix where all sorts of Motorsport takes to the street course over the same weekend, including Open wheel cars, Touring cars, and Motorcycles. That would be fantastic, but unlikely because 1. I don’t speak Cantonese to work there, 2. I don’t live in Hong Kong or Macau and don’t have the appropriate work visa to volunteer and 3. I cannot make any of their training sessions to qualify as a local volunteer, and they’re not open to visiting marshals which is a shame. It’s a similar situation in Japan to volunteer for the SuperGT series at Suzuka for example for Pokka 1000 which I thought would be a really cool event. Main issue there is I don’t speak Japanese and none of the locals are keen to babysit a foreign marshal even though there are Japanese marshals that travel to other countries to volunteer, they don’t reciprocate.

I have considered reaching out to the Bahraini marshals to see if I could join them for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in Baku. That seems like a destination that would be quite memorable to visit. But I don’t know how likely they are to accept me as a volunteer.

Recently I considered Mexico as a convenient place to go to next. I’ve worked with a number of Mexican officials at the Long Beach GP, the Canadian and US GP’s and other events in the US. But when I reached out to my Mexican contacts I was made to understand that it was “impossible” to volunteer in Mexico because they were oversubscribed on marshals as soon as their GP was announced. Bummer!

Perhaps Brazil would be a logical choice? Well, the only thing that has stopped me from going to Latin America so far is the outrageous VISA fees. I can’t imagine paying $160 or $180 dollars for a visa when I normally don’t spend that much on flights. So that’s not really at the top of my list thus far.

So the logical choices that I’m left with are the Netherlands or Austria which both host a series I am extremely interested in: DTM. I would love to do the German touring car series in either one of the countries because I’ve already made contacts with both organizers and have worked with plenty of Dutch and some Austrian marshals to know I would be able to manage my volunteering trip there quite easily and conveniently. But which one should I focus on?

That’s the dilemma I’m faced with before I walk a few steps to the amazingly warm waters of the Atlantic and float around for another hour enjoying the opportunity I jumped on to book a cheap flight. Note to self, I ought to sign up for the Miami ePrix to have a better excuse to come back to South Florida to marshal Formula E, although last year that opportunity seemed quite hush hush, because only select few were invited, treated well with hotels that the organizers provided and payment for their work, which is pretty unusual in US volunteering…. maybe that’s why I wasn’t invited?

A Challenge to the SuperGT Organizers to Accept a non-Japanese Marshal for One of Their Events

Why don’t some countries allow foreign marshals to participate in their events, when they clearly allow and promote foreign driver participation in the same events?

I want to marshal a SuperGT race in Japan.

And yet, the few contacts I’ve made in Japan at various circuits seem set against it to allow foreigners to marshal with the Japanese.

The photo above came from an article where the SuperGT (GTA) boss Masaaki Bandoh issued a challenge to WEC organizers to have three teams race their GT500 cars at the Fuji 6 hour event. The GT500 cars from SuperGT look far more GT-like than the LMP1 and LMP2 prototypes in the Word Endurance Championship series. According to the article the GT500’s are quicker than the pace set by the Audi R18 eTron, though slower than the Toyota or Porsche hybrids, but faster than the privateer teams like Rebellion LMP1’s. Anyhow, the quickness of the GT500 cars is irrelevant to the fact that the Japanese circuits I contacted only allow Japanese speakers to participate/volunteer in their events. Why not? Surely the multitude of foreign drivers many of them English speakers (but others whether French or German are still more likely to speak English then Japanese) don’t actually speak Japanese should they crash and need to interact with the local marshals.

Mr. Bandoh apparently didn’t stop with the challenges there, he issued another challenge to the German manufacturers to step up their game in the GT500 field (they currently participate in the GT300 field with GT3-spec machinery like the Mercedes-Benz AMG SLS, BMW Z4 GT3 or the Porsche 911 GT3). And the manufacturers are expected to comply, according to the article. Why not open up the doors to the opportunity for foreign travelling marshals to volunteer at Suzuka, or Montegi, or Fuji? It’d make perfect sense to me and plenty of other people too. I’m sure we’d all take the Japanese Automobile Federation up on their offer to work with our Japanese colleagues like we do with our German colleagues, or our French colleagues, or our Australian colleagues, etc.

I don’t speak many languages of the countries I’ve volunteered at. In Belgium French is the official language of the circuit, but many of the marshals, including many Belgians, speak Flemish. There were plenty of Dutch marshals there too. Plenty of Brits. Plenty of Czech’s, etc. I’m sure most of them don’t speak French but we all got along nicely and worked professionally as expected. I didn’t speak French working at Le Mans. I didn’t speak German working at the Nurburgring. French was one of the official languages in Canada even though the other official language was English. I didn’t speak fluent Singlish to work the Singapore GP. Definitely didn’t speak Bahasa Malaysia working at the Sepang Circuit. Or Korean working in South Korea. Point being, I don’t speak most of the foreign languages at places I have volunteered successfully. But I did my job the way I was supposed to, and I would love to return to work there again and again.

The excuse that the local language is required to work an event isn’t valid, and it’s a shame that the Japanese circuits I contacted use. Surely there are some marshals there who speak some English and I would partner up with to work under their supervision and some translation when necessary.

I suspect that the reason we get rejected as foreign marshals is that the Japanese organizers don’t want to babysit a foreigner. It’s a lot easier to say “NO!” than to accept a marshal and than have to worry about a myriad of questions like where that person should stay (lodging), how he should get to the track (transportation), what that person must eat and how prepared he should be (food). Communication in general. Following the dress code. Having a helmet that fits. etc. It’s much harder to say “YES!”

But I wish they would.

If there is anyone in Japan that would help me facilitate my wish to volunteer at one of the SuperGT events at Fuji, Montegi, Suzuka or any other track, please get in touch. I would probably need your help translating the application (and the whole process indeed). Some advice about transportation getting to the track, on time. Where to eat, where to sleep, etc. It would be most helpful!

One day I will do SuperGT… it’s at the top of my wish list,  like DTM!

 

Link to the quoted article: http://www.racecar-engineering.com/news/super-gt-challenges-lmp1-dtm-to-fuji-showdown/

How to Marshal a DTM event at Red Bull Ring?

This is a question I don’t have an answer to.

So dear reader, how do you marshal a DTM event at Red Bull Ring?

According to this infographic from voestalpine.com there are 364+ marshals (plus 70 firemen) at Red Bull Ring for the Austrian GP:

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Out of all those people there doesn’t seem to be much information about them online, including web sites and through social media. The official Red Bull Ring web site: click here, doesn’t list any links to marshaling opportunities. Austria ASN: Osterreichischer Automobile-Motorrad Und Touring Club (OAMTC) web site: click here, doesn’t link to anything useful either. They seem to be much like ADAC in Germany or AAA in the US, being a general automotive club rather than Motorsport focused club that recruits marshals. Searching for marshals under other tracks in the country like Salzburgring yields a link to: marshals-club.at but their web site makes no mention of the the venue of interest.

I’m quite surprised about this and wanted to share this post to see if people would chime in and help with contacts. Thanks in advance!

The Wishlist

With a crappy station assignment for the upcoming USGP in Austin the thoughts of “is it still worth it?” loom as I’m about to depart for Texas early next week. Of course it is! One potentially disappointing trip will not deter me from continuing to volunteer. Especially when there is something better to look forward to. This post therefore is my “Wishlist” – the events and places I would really like to marshal in the near future, in no particular order.

I believe I have narrowed the list down to just five (5) items. However before I proceed to list them, I should cover a few places and events that, while I’d love to volunteer I probably most definitely could. And some that I have lost interest in for a variety of reasons. This should illustrate the way I look on volunteering at this point in time, which would be an interesting concept to revisit at a later date especially to compare how feelings change with time and experience.

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To start, there are a few places I’d really really really like to marshal. High atop that list is the Spa 24 hour race – the feature event of the Blancpain Endurance Series (BEC) at the famous Spa-Francochamps circuit in Belgium. I can totally see myself going there if only I could get all the ducks in correct order. Malaysia Merdeka 12 hour endurance is definitely high on that list of races I “could” marshal also. I love Malaysia! I love everything about it and cannot wait to work with my friends again in Sepang. And to visit Thailand or Singapore on the way over there. The Bathurst 1000 would be nice to do, because it too is the pinnacle of Australian V8 Supercars series. I have yet to do the Dubai 24 hour race, my first visit to the UAE made a great impression and I genuinely look forward to returning one day.

The “would be nice” list:

f-belgium Spa 24 hour Blancpain Series at Circuit Spa-Francochamps

f-malaysia Malaysia Merdeka Asian GT at Sepang International Circuit

f-australia Bathurst 1000 V8 Supercars at Mount Panorama

f-uae Dubai 24 hour at the Dubai Autodrome

f-hungary Hungarian Grand Prix F1 at Hungaroring

There are also events which I would NOT bother pursuing. Chiefly among them is Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. I feel that way not just because it was a total pain in the ass experience the last time I attempted to put my name on the volunteer list there. But mainly because there are much better events at the Yas Marina Circuits that I would focus on. And to be honest I would return to do the Gulf 12 hour in a heartbeat, because I really enjoyed the circuit and the racing the last time I worked there. Monaco Grand Prix is also not on my list at all, even though everyone suggests it as a “dream” destination. I wouldn’t event attempt it, not just because it would require to learn French, lose a lot of weight and have to audition through a very physical obstacle course with a heavy fire bottle on my shoulders. That actually sounds like fun. But more importantly because of the arrogant atmosphere surrounding the recruitment process and the perceived recruitment processes spread like fire word of mouth at events I’ve participated at already. I have found myself enjoying Sports Car events far more than I do Formula 1. I would however, totally do a new (to me) F1 circuit like the Hungaroring especially since I was invited directly to participate there. Similarly, I would love to volunteer at the Virginia International Raceway (VIR) since I’ve been invited to marshal there many times now. But the one event I would like to start with isn’t actually open  to volunteers like me and instead is handled by VIR employees which bumps this track off my wishlist.

The “no thanks” list:

f-uae Abu Dhabi Grand Prix F1 at Yas Marina Circuit

f-monaco Monaco Grand Prix F1 at the Monaco Street Circuit

f-usa Oak Tree Grand Prix TUSC at Virginia Int’l Raceway

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I think since I started my marshaling hobby in Singapore, there are two prominent places on “The Wishlist” in Asia and both have rejected me. But, I will not be deterred and aspiring to volunteer there will hopefully get me a more welcoming result in the future. As I’ve mentioned before since Western teams eagerly participate in the series there, there’s no reason for a non-local to marshal there either. So without further ado, I present to you…

The Wishlist:

f-macau The Macau Grand Prix – Guia Street Circuit is a very desirable destination for me personally. I have visited, driven on (albeit on a shuttle bus) and walked the actual street circuit used for this fantastic event. It is one of two country Grand Prix in the world that are not affiliated with Formula 1. And I have done the other one already, which just happens to be New Zealand Grand Prix. It is also one of the few events in the world featuring both car and bike races over the same weekend. Not only that but you have sports cars, open wheelers and motorcycles using the same circuit to compete. Talk about variety!

f-japan Pokka 1000 – Suzuka Circuit also turned me down because I don’t speak a lick of Japanese. Boo Hoo… Despite a very international field of drivers participating in this SuperGT endurance race who like me, probably don’t speak a lick of Japanese either. But what a fantastic event it is. You’ve got the best of Japanese technology on display with the GT500 field and a healthy mix of European and Asian tech in the GT300 field. Would totally love to be there one day wearing orange overalls and a white helmet with a big smile on my face.

f-germany DTM! The German spec supercar series is like a dream to marshal even though everyone I have spoken with about it, suggests that the atmosphere is reduced to Formula 1 style dictatorship where everything is controlled and mostly forbidden by the organizers. The good news, my not speaking German would not be a deal breaker. So there’s a shimmer of hope and a strong desire to volunteer for a DTM race in it’s current glory before it is completely changed… (like the upcoming races for the Australian V8 Supercars series). Worst case scenario I could probably marshal DTM without a language barrier at the Moscow Raceway. But I’d prefer Germany.

f-brazil Stockcar! The Brazilian Stockcar is no NASCAR of South America. While a Chevy Sonic or a Peugeot 206 stuffed with a big V8 obviously differentiates it from the American Toyota Camry, watching clips of the Brazilian races on YouTube makes me want to participate. Sure the language would be a problem, but much like Germany I think the locals would be welcoming and allow me to play. The location doesn’t particularly matter to me, though Interlagos in São Paulo would be an obvious choice for a number of sentimental reasons. One day I shall make it happen.

f-southafrica The African 6 hour. There’s something about South Africa that really intrigues me. I’ve had the pleasure of working with a bunch of people from there at various Australian, New Zealand and British events (and by British I will lump the Gulf 12 hour into this experience as the busload of Brits were imported to marshal at Yas Marina circuit specifically for that event). And I can’t wait to visit the actual country and some of their famous circuits. There was a time when even Formula 1 ran there, but with current level of competition between Asian, Middle East and American circuits… it seems SA has been forgotten. The African 6 hour keeps the legacy alive, featuring a good grassroots level machines from Sports Cars to Prototypes in a form of I guess Radicals and home grown variety. I really want to go there and join the team in orange at least once in the near future.

Overlapping International Series

As I’m filling out my calendar with most international series having released their 2013 schedules… nothing but frustration comes to mind to see so many good events overlap.

No bueno!

Having lived in Australia and New Zealand, the Ozzie V8 Supercars is one of my favorite touring car racing series to participate in. Unfortunately, many of the V8 events on the calendar fall on the same weekends as the Grand Am or American Le Mans events in USA.

Similarly, the Japanese Super GT series is something that I have come so close to “almost” experiencing living in Southeast Asia. Unfortunately, the weekend Super GT visits Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia is the same weekend of the 24 hours of Le Mans.

And finally, on the subject of Europe… besides the original Le Mans series there’s one popular race I’ve always wanted to marshal and that is the German DTM series. With Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz all making a comeback this year, the series is probably better than ever and yet all the dates fall on weekends that are already booked. Shame!

So what can I do? I guess the most logical solution is to wait until next year to see where I end up once I finally find a job. The goal is to stay stateside and attend most local races in the process… but it doesn’t hurt to plan some alternatives!